Complex Article: 25 Things Everyone Thinks About Hip Hop(But nobody will say)



  • Knicklyn_RodimusKnicklyn_Rodimus Posts: 5,977
    edited December 2012
    That article is so true. It touched on everything we always talk about on here
  • jonojono Posts: 14,470
    biggie and pac would have fell off

    ill let you niggas get butt-hurt

    Its true though. Everybody falls off. Nobody can be on top forever.
  • ATL_DROATL_DRO Posts: 9,527

  • 1. Biggie and 2Pac would have fallen off, eventually.

    What goes up, must come down, but rappers killed in their prime are forever preserved in the amber of their most unimpeachable moment.

    If Big and Pac had made it into the 2000s, they'd probably be recording house music with Nicki Minaj, dealing with drug addiction like DMX, recording acclaimed but ultimately underwhelming sequels to classic albums like Raekwon, or fighting off diminishing expectations like Nas.

    All that said, we do wish both of them were still around. It would be cool to see Pac or Big meeting America's first black president, if only because Pac saw it as heaven-sent.

    2. You wish that you invented WorldStarHipHop and MediaTakeOut.

    Those sites are leading proponents of lowest-common-denominator culture, unapologetically staring at the human car wreck we all know we should turn away from. But we can't.

    We know it's bad for culture, bad for America, bad for us, bad for perceptions of class and race, dangerous to our values. It titillates with sleaze and profits from pain. It humiliates on a national scale.

    And boy, do we wish we'd gotten in on the ground floor. Not one of you wouldn't trade places with Q or Fred Mwangaguhunga in a heartbeat.

    3. Rap is a really bad influence on children.

    Do we even have to say it? Glorification of violence, terrible attitudes towards women, celebrating criminality, unapologetic rampant consumerism, drug-addled, status-obsessed, hedonistic.

    Sure, you argue, it's a window into our culture, perhaps even a therapeutic release in such a restrictive environment. But explaining this context to a 10-year-old is about as meaningful as trying to explain quantum physics or continental philosophy.

    Obviously, plenty of kids grow up listening to rap and turn out reasonably well adjusted; it would be ridiculous to blame hip-hop for violence in society or drug addiction, even if it serves as a walking advertisement for both. But defenses that argue the music is harmless don't really wash.

    It's the outlaw appeal, the rebellious posturing and indulgence in the forbidden, that makes hip-hop intriguing to kids in the first place. Parental guidance strongly suggested.

    4. A lot of famous rappers don't write their own rhymes.

    Earlier this year, the controversy over dream hampton's tweet that Nas' Untitled may have been ghostwritten unearthed a surprising amount of vitriol. At center was a conflict over authenticity, the auteur, and why people listen to music.

    The fact is, ghostwriting is a completely widespread phenomenon, particularly in the higher reaches of the industry. Sometimes, finding out about a ghostwriter has no effect on the listener, or may even lend greater appreciation to a song. Think about Nas's hand in ghostwriting Will Smith's "Gettin' Jiggy With It," or the revelation that Jay-Z wrote Dr. Dre's lyrics on "Still D.R.E."

    Others might complicate the listener's relationship with a work. Hip-hop is often a collaborative art, but to what degree does Cormega deserve credit for helping Nas on Illmatic? Rhymefest co-wrote "Jesus Walks," and while only Ghostface could have recorded Supreme Clientele, allegations that other artists were involved in the writing process have dogged the record.

    Puffy even managed to even brag about ghostwriting on "Bad Boy For Life," an unapologetic auteur uninterested in the specifics of lyric-writing. But these are the ghostwriting episodes we know about. It's much deeper than most people think.

    5. The excessive use of "nigga" is incredibly awkward for white people.

    White people already have an extremely schizophrenic relationship with rap music, at once fascinated by the form, and outside of it, often an intended audience but rarely acknowledged as such.

    Nothing epitomizes this confusion like "the N-word," an epithet that helps mark rap music's territory as, fundamentally, a black American art form. It's a word designed to delineate audiences, to exclude and include, and as such plays with the listener's easy identification with the song's protagonist. None of which means that white kids can't like rap, or that white people can't enjoy it. But the taboo term's ever-present use in hip-hop is a constant reminder of white people's outsider position.

    This doesn't mean that whites don't regularly ignore the word's verboten status, but it does mean that their interaction with hip-hop remains particularly fraught.

  • 6. A lot of classic, old-school hip-hop sucks.

    Well, a lot of hip-hop sucks, period—but we all knew that the 400th iteration of the Lil Jon formula was probably a bit much back in 2006.

    The over-the-top reverence for the old-school era or, later on, hip-hop's golden age, means a lot of middling iterations of classic formulas have snuck into wider knowledge. There's even a faux-record-collector genre ("random rap") named for otherwise-forgotten tracks from a particularly celebrated era in hip-hop's history.

    Even for tracks that were important, being significant doesn't mean they will appeal to younger audiences down the road. A track could provide the home for a groundbreaking new technological advance, a frequency filter, or a particular style of sampling, but if the song wasn't all that great, it might not translate through the generations.

    Hip-hop, in particular—heavily referential, bathed in pop culture and era-specific slang and references—fights an uphill battle when it comes to maintaining lifelong relevance. While some songs sound as new today as the day they were released, others haven't aged quite as well. Sometimes it's a matter of a groundbreaking artist not influencing too many to follow in his footsteps; other times, it's the opposite problem, as too many rush to replicate a formula, obscuring its initial uniqueness. Hip-hop is a heavily contextual art form, and if an old head has to fall back on "you had to be there," then the song probably wasn't that great in the first place.

    This isn't to excuse young people's impatience with the past. And of course, the rare song that feels at once unique, of its era, and timeless—think "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash, or "Beat Bop" by Rammellzee—will always transcend regardless.

    7. Most conscious rap is condescending, simplistic, and corny.

    One of the central characteristics of hip-hop is the art of bragging. This doesn't go well with results-oriented political ideology. Never mind that many "conscious" rappers have extremely suspect philosophies. The form has often been a forum for a certain conservatism of sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and irresponsible and dishonest historical narratives.

    But even when the artist's moral compass is pure, "conscious" rap is often a road to wack music paved with good intentions. Creating real change requires a certain kind of selflessness that is anathema to being a halfway decent rapper.

    8. Most "indie" rappers aren't signed to major labels for good reason.

    Getting into underground hip-hop is a good way to learn a lot about how big the world is, and how insignificant your views on it truly are. The fact is, no matter how strong your passion for the mellifluous rhymes of MC Throwback Freestyle King or the eccentricities of Kool Keith, your values aren't necessarily the ones the wider world needs to understand.

    Sure, the industry is a corrupt, dishonest place. Bloggers are bribed, radio stations receive payola, and the little guy can't catch a break. But in order to be a truly popular artist, it is a fact that the music will need to appeal to a large, diverse audience. A good judge of whether your favorite rapper qualifies is to remember that the world isn't made up entirely of men, that it isn't made up entirely of fans of Golden Age Hip-Hop, and that being weird for the sake of being weird is setting oneself up to fail from jump.

    When a label signs an artist, they're taking a gamble on a positive return on investment; the only motive is profit. They have zero interest in holding back your art-damaged instrumental trip-hop trio if they think they can make a buck off of it. Prove to them that they're wrong.

    9. Rap is the single biggest promoter of drug abuse in popular culture.

    Sure, people might use drugs when listening to dance music, but hip-hop lately has been a 24/7 advertisement for Molly, which finally took over in 2012 after nearly a decade of Lean commercials.

    Substance addiction is one of the most serious problems in the industry. Few stars haven't been touched by it, and Eminem (who once released a four-minute ad for "Purple Pills") has gone on the record to speak out against it, as has T.I.

    If a rapper released a song tomorrow that argued for a return to huffing paint fumes, you'd walk down the street and see 30 kids with their snapback-clad heads inside paper bags the very next day. Never has the link between capitalism and drug addiction been made so apparent.

    10. Hipster critics are either pushing nu-female rappers as a projection of their desires or as a paternalistic, misguided corrective to years of sexism in hip-hop.

    Rap journalists have not, historically, done a great job of covering women. Female rap artists who pander to male audiences are more likely to garner critical respect. It's understandable, then, that while the Internet has opened up more lanes for different kinds of artists, more and more female stars would start finding audiences without the "OK" of the critical establishment.

    That said, the last year has seen a surprisingly large number of emergent female rap artists getting considerable coverage, and while it's unquestionably an exciting development, to be completely real—some of them aren't quite ready for prime time. Whether it's due to wish-fulfillment on the part of male critics, or a belated attempt to correct years of sexism within the rap writer hierarchy, writers from outside the culture have been celebrating an increasing number of female rappers without really doing due critical diligence, lobbing artists to the upper tiers of coverage, then dropping them days later.

    The hype-machine trajectory isn't a new one for artists of either gender, but it feels particularly pronounced with female rappers. This could also be in correlation with the lack of attention paid by the critical mainstream to female R&B artists, overlooked as they are in the fascination writers have with Frank Ocean, Miguel, The Weeknd, and Jeremih in recent years.

  • 11. Rap makes violence seem very cool.

    Hip-hop has made an entire industry out of pulp violence. Some of the most affecting hip-hop makes you feel the consequences; most is unapologetic in its brash embrace of recklessness. Some of the most effective gangster rap is that which convinces you of its realism, and ultimately, puts you into the action. It's all about that vicarious thrill.

    Some of the most harrowing music manages to convey the repercussions of squeezing triggers. The worst of the form is that which renders the violence banal, like an action movie or video game, while purporting the entire time to represent reality or hiding behind the myth of street reportage. Even the hip-hop that shuns violence is often shaped by it in the inverse.

    Ironically, as time goes on and artists gain respectability, the violent subtext of their music becomes detached. (Think about how Jay-Z made his name in the early years, conveying a drug dealer's drama with threatening nonchalance, and contrast it with pictures of him with President Obama.) Calling a record a "classic" gives it a sheen of respectability that makes it difficult to remember what was so shocking about it in the first place.

    In order to keep pushing forward, the cutting edge of the genre is continually reinventing how to make violence feel more and more real, to capture intangible feelings of tension and danger and give them some release.

    As Ann Powers argued in her seminal piece In Defense of Nasty Art, "violator art begins with the premise that...negative feelings belong to us all, and we can't be cured of them." This is the rush that successful violent hip-hop seeks to replicate. Powers' mid '90s essay was inspired by Tha Dogg Pound, but the same case could be made for Kendrick Lamar. When it works, this sort of music feels visceral, true, and important, while the records that fail seem rote and extraordinarily exploitative.

    12. The Internet A&R decimated the quality of popular rap.

    It goes hand-in-hand with the decline of major-label money: The quantity of popular rap music in the charts has seen a marked decline due to the rise of The Armchair Internet A&R. The result? Arguably, the proportional decline in the quality of popular rap overall.

    There was a time when an A&R rep had to be a knowledgeable talent scout, scouring hip-hop scenes across the country for the most successful artists. Today, A&Rs are the bloggers digging through emails, creating headlines through word-of-mouth viral buzz. The importance of being able to create Internet headlines means that the music industry is, more than ever, relying on a strange subset of people (who spend a lot of time online) to decide what is or isn't buzzworthy (making decisions on which they stake their own reputations).

    Less important than "will it appeal to teens?" is "will it appeal to teens online?' Internet noise is now one of the most significant drivers of content for the chattering classes.

    Herein lies the strange contradiction: Sure, A&Ring has been democratized across the board; anyone can "discover" an artist by blogging about them first, leading to a viral falling-dominoes effect and kick-starting a major-label career. But what interests those dominoes—the Tumblr rebloggers, the music critics, the magazine editors—isn't necessarily what interests the wider public.

    For years, what music writers have covered and what's been popular with music fans has diverged significantly. Now the pool of writers (or rebloggers, at any rate) is expanding, but it remains non-representative of the wider world. We end up with rap artists who would have only been critical darlings less than half a decade ago receiving all kinds of hype and attention.

    13. One of your favorite rappers is probably secretly gay.

    We mean, odds are. And if you have a problem with that, you're a fool.

    14. Rap's popularity has declined significantly in mainstream America.

    If you came of age in the late '90s or early 2000s, you might remember the new Golden Age of commercial hip-hop. At the time, many rap heads were unhappy with how the music was changing, but for most of America, it was the genre's coming-out party, the moment when the true national might of the hip-hop generation conquered the pop charts. Rappers from New York to Miami, Atlanta to Los Angeles, New Orleans to St. Louis were all staging a full-on assault on popular music.

    You had Ruff Ryders and Roc-A-Fella, Slip N Slide and Bad Boy, Dr. Dre's second solo album, the Neptunes, Timbaland, Nelly, Jay-Z, Eminem, 50 Cent and G-Unit, Nas, Swizz Beats, No Limit, Cash Money, and Irv Gotti. It was an era that exploded with a diversity of sonic approaches, extravagant personalities, and, above all, massive commercial success.

    After the rise of Atlanta in the early 2000s with T.I., Young Jeezy, and Lil Jon, Lil Wayne and YMCMB stpped up as the indisputable popular champions, keeping rap on the pop charts along with MMG and G.O.O.D. Music.

    But these days the rap that does make the charts seems pretty lonely. Most popular music now sounds more like millennial European club music than it does millennial American. And one of hip-hop's biggest success stories is Nicki Minaj, who manages to continue her reign because she knows how to make tracks that appeal to the mainstream's taste for club music.

    While hip-hop used to dominate the charts, and remains a creatively flourishing art form, it seems that the heads of the late '90s got their wish—most excellent rap music being made these days is safely underground.

    15. Tumblr rap is less appealing than snap rap, ringtone rap, swag rap, and any other "lowest common denominator" movement.

    Even if you disagree with this argument, there's a significant difference between this era and generations previous. In true Revenge of the Nerds style, the music develops without the real-life, socially-derived elements that defined previous generations' "lowest common denominator" styles.

    Tumblr rap can describe a diverse range of artists, but the subgenre is primarily defined by its initial audience on Tumblr, the engine that propelled the act into magazine headlines, even if those artists transcend that audience later on.

    Tumblr-popularized rap artists could arguably include Flatbush Zombies, Raider Klan, Kitty Pryde, etc. There's nothing inherently wrong with any of these artists, but what differentiates this scene from past scenes is that it's experienced largely through social media on the Internet. And what that means for the bulk of the artists is that it's as much about the Internet-identity of the listener as it is about the artist's identity. It's music specifically designed for reblogs.

    What this means is that it's also music for a generation that is especially self-aware about its own image, thus the focus is on fashion, on "visuals" (music videos), on signifying awareness of certain eras or scenes that are perceived to have some cultural cachet. What isn't of concern: dancing, lyrics, a sense of pop immediacy.

    Music that had been inherently social pre-Internet—the lyrics kids shouted in the hallways at school to annoy teachers, the dances you had to learn and perform, the way you responded to the groove—in pure Tumblr music, that is all irrelevant. Online, no one can see you dance.
  • jono wrote: »
    biggie and pac would have fell off

    ill let you niggas get butt-hurt

    Its true though. Everybody falls off. Nobody can be on top forever.


    have all proven to be able to dominate for at least a decade ...... pac and big were barley five years in on the mainstream level.... unless they both started doing coke or something highly ignorant in that light ... i dont see the basis to make that statement for these two individuals in particular ....especially considering pacs hollywood appeal
  • complex has good interviews and some interesting articles but a lot of their lists are fucking lame as fuck. its like they trying so hard to be accepted as an authority in hip hop
  • CirocObamaCirocObama Posts: 3,825
    jono wrote: »
    biggie and pac would have fell off

    ill let you niggas get butt-hurt

    Its true though. Everybody falls off. Nobody can be on top forever.


    have all proven to be able to dominate for at least a decade ...... pac and big were barley five years in on the mainstream level.... unless they both started doing coke or something highly ignorant in that light ... i dont see the basis to make that statement for these two individuals in particular ....especially considering pacs hollywood appeal

    See this a problem. I like all of them but the fact that u brought up those examples shows how naive you are to the business and how delusional or in denial you are about certain things (no disrespect).

  • 16. Ghost producers are rampant.

    The rumors that Stic.Man and Jay Electronica wrote portions of Nas album Untitled blew the lid off of the industry's not-so-hidden ghostwriting secret, but the same has yet to happen on the production side. And rest assured, it happens there too. And we're not even talking about the obvious beat-jacks, like the Trackmasters ripping a Beatnuts track for Jennifer Lopez.

    A few rumors, some unconfirmed: Minnesota may have produced "All About the Benjamins." DJ Quik did the drums on "In Da Club." Large Professor may have done the drums on "T.R.O.Y." Danja was heavily involved in producing some of Timbaland's latter-day work.

    Industry stories about stolen samples and beats are rampant; collaborative work and production credits don't always align. The work of individual producers are credited to "The Hitmen." The music world is a shady place, and beatmakers, with little financial incentive in the industry, can be the most vulnerable.

    17. Most criticism of contemporary rap is rooted in biased nostalgia.

    To hear old heads tell it, you'd think that the '80s or early '90s were a rap paradise. Today's youth have fallen from grace. The music ain't what it used to be—blah, blah, blah. Today, it's more ignorant, more nihilistic, and at least when it was all those things back then, those artists were the first to do it.

    Guess what? It's all a fantasy. Not only were the songs just as reprehensible from a moral perspective—go listen to the lyrics on a Spice 1 album—but the artists involved were a thin veneer away from the street life, if the recently-released Wu-Tang FBI files have any truth to them.

    The fact is, when you hear an old head complain about music today, 90% of the time they're fantasizing about the production style: reliance on breakbeats and sample chops, jazz loops, and other signifiers of "worthy," classy music.

    To many of these fans, the plinking sound effects of Jeru the Damaja's "Come Clean" is as hard, as gritty, as rap music can possibly sound. No matter how effectively Swizz slammed his Triton keyboards on "Money Cash Hoes" or how cacophonous the percussion on Luger's "B.M.F.," new records will never measure up to a dusty vinyl sample. At least not in their eyes.

    18. Drake was the best rapper out in 2011.

    Drake had everything working against him; he was already famous, wealthy—in a word, he was successful. He had a cosign from the biggest rapper in the industry. Everything was given to him on a platter. And in a genre that relies heavily on narratives of struggle, of speaking for the have-nots, it became a burden.

    Even after some of his biggest successes, people still doubted. It wasn't until 2011 that Drake truly dominated the industry, turning his disadvantages into their own reverse-underdog narrative and coming out on top. It helped that the aesthetic he and 40 pioneered—an icy, atmospheric blanket of sound, and a melodic vocal approach—ended up being one of the most singular styles in an era otherwise devoid of musical subtlety.

    He also released Take Care, one of hip-hop's most cohesive records in recent memory, stole the show on the year's biggest single ("I'm On One"), and otherwise became the most dominant force in hip-hop, despite all expectations.

    19. Getting music covered on blogs is almost entirely politics and networking, and quality rarely matters.

    As much as bloggers might front like they're the A&Rs of the new decade, the vast number of them have atrocious taste and are as likely to be swayed by a listening session with free booze and a keychain as they are by, you know, quality music.

    The dirty not-so-secret to getting your name on rap blogs is that a few bloggers will post anyone of at least middling quality, thus justifying a person's presence as an Artist Worth Talking About.

    With the right blog onslaught, anyone can swim their way to the top of the blogger fishbowl with an avalanche of well-placed emails and a chatty PR person's Gmail Rolodex. Of course, success through this method isn't likely to create much in the way of a fan base—at least not one willing to spend money on an artist.

    The ease of an Internet rise is a double-edged sword in other ways. You only get one coming-out party, and if you garner a lot of attention in one year, you might be stuck struggling to regain blog attention a few short years later. Call it the Charles Hamilton Rule.

    20. If you don't make a music video for your song, it doesn't exist.

    It's 2012, which means that, for most rap artists, there's no more passing around your demo tape with a phone number penciled on the side. No matter what level of success your song attains, the video is a necessity. Any attempt to pretend otherwise is just plain dumb.

    Getting our music via the Internet means we experience everything visually as much as we do aurally. Swag matters. You think Kreayshawn would have a record deal without her video? "Gucci Gucci" was a catchy song, but it was the entire lifestyle conveyed through a four-minute clip that really made her career take off.

    The same holds true for A$AP Rocky, Chief Keef, and Trinidad James. Videos have always been important for breaking artists; they convey a sensibility and identity. They've also never been as affordable as they are now. An army of videographers awaits your call.

  • 21. Rap treats women horribly.

    At the risk of restating the obvious, American culture treats women horribly. And Rap is no exception—for a number of reasons.

    It's a style of music that has zero investment in maintaining any kind of decorum. Not that there's anything wrong with that. In fact, it's what we love about it. People say what's on their minds, searching for the bluntest truth.

    But the flip side is that their "blunt truths" might not be the most well-considered. It's an art form dominated by young men, in competition to prove their manhood. It's also an art form that celebrates the accumulation of status, and always has: chains, cars, and yes, women, who are treated like objects obtained through success.

    Then you have strip club culture, one of the crucibles of hip-hop's development. And let's not forget the aforementioned "conscious rap," which has a strong strain of fundamentalist/paternalistic attitudes towards women. There's also the long-running pimp archetype, which hip-hop's pulp fiction fascination accentuates.

    Add to that the limited roles given to female performers on radio and the press based on a general unwillingness to deal with the true diversity of female artists. In the hip-hop canon, women are still underrepresented by historians and publications, considering their lengthy contributions to the genre.

    Then, of course, there are the artists who have histories of abuse or assault, from Dr. Dre to Big Pun to Gucci Mane to Lil Reese. And of course the industry more broadly, which continues to find time for Chris Brown guest spots.

    This is not to suggest that hip-hop is inherently misogynist; like any culture, it's full of contradictions. But at the same time, it's self-evident that respect for women was never one of the core elements of hip-hop.

    22. Explicitly political rap music will never change the world.

    If you have strident political opinions and you want to make change happen, music might not be the best medium to address your cause. Yes, there are scattered examples in hip-hop history that show music's political potential, its ability to convey powerful messages, with Public Enemy being the most obvious and most successful. But these are rare.

    An artist's ability to create meaningful change is also dependent on being heard by an audience that might act upon what they've learned. A lot of times, a political message gains power from being personal; rather than hectoring. Some of the best rappers would lead by example. (Think 2Pac's "Keep Your Head Up," rather than the condescending "Brenda's Got a Baby.")

    This isn't an argument that music can or should disregard moral purpose; quite the opposite. Instead, artists should simply recognize that by labeling oneself as a "conscious" or "political" artist, a rapper is setting up himself or herself to merely preach to the choir. All too often, their decision to be "political" is more about branding than it is about creating real positive change.

    23. When white people enjoy "ignorant rap," it feels racist.

    "Ignorant" is an over-used descriptor of rap music. In a commonly expressed extreme, it could describe party rap, misogynist rap (although not all misogynist rap is considered "ignorant," inexplicably), violent rap, rap that isn't concerned with lyricism, rap from certain regions, and rap made by people without formal educations. Many times, it's a catch-all term used to describe music that the critic simply doesn't understand.

    But there's a certain constellation of rap music that, when fetishized by white people, causes arched eyebrows across the board. When a white person's interest in a hip-hop artist seems driven almost entirely by how hood they are, how "real" they seem, it suggests they may, in fact, have a less-than-real relationship with black people, in general.

    White people aren't alone in fetishizing authenticity, but when they do it, it's much more likely to feel racist, like they have a fantastical idea of how black people live that's driven more by caricature than truth.

    24. New York rap has sucked since Dipset broke up.

    Okay, sure, your favorite niche has a dope rapper. Action Bronson is a funny, fat white chef. Heems is a pointed, politically-minded humorist for the liberal arts school set. Joey Bada$$ is releasing some solid retro-raps. But when's the last time a New York act locked down the streets, the radio, and the press, enough to get national attention? Where's the next New York movement?

    Post-Dipset, Max B was working towards that goal, and he was already a proven factor on radio and the charts, allegedly ghostwriting Jim Jones' "We Fly High." But incarceration shut his career short.

    Label limbo hamstrung Saigon and Uncle Murda. Red Cafe and Fred the Godson have had some minor regional successes. Papoose seems to be forgotten. Dipset affiliate Vado sparked, then sputtered. Harlemite A-Mafia's been releasing some quality material, but has been unable to garner much interest.

    A movement is more than a handful of local acts, and lately, hip-hop's birthplace has been more of a museum than a thriving cultural center. A$AP Rocky is a new, legitimate star, but one MC can't bring the city back.

    The biggest New York rapper right now is Nicki Minaj, and how often do you see her repping her borough?

    25. Personality matters more than "skills."

    "If skills sold, truth be told, I'd probably be, lyrically, Talib Kweli." Jay-Z's lyric makes nominal sense, at best—not that Kweli wasn't a skilled rapper, but Jay was always a more dexterous one, even when he "dumbed down" to double his dollars.

    But in a larger sense, this statement points to why "skills" are such a bizarrely irrelevant factor in 99% of conversations about hip-hop. For most critics, the term "skills" applies to a very narrow range of possible talents. Songwriting, charisma, the possibility of surprise—anything that describes a well-rounded artist, or results in an enjoyable piece of music—are all subservient to the rapper's technique.

    If there's one dominant thing in the rapper's control, it's their personality. Personality is, admittedly, more abstract, but that's what has made the biggest impact for every classic rapper.

    Jay-Z isn't just dope because he's skilled. He's dope because those skills help form a better picture of a nonchalant rap star, whose nonchalance perfectly conveys his jaded persona. Skills are only a means to an end.
    edited December 2012
    CirocObama wrote: »
    jono wrote: »
    biggie and pac would have fell off

    ill let you niggas get butt-hurt

    Its true though. Everybody falls off. Nobody can be on top forever.


    have all proven to be able to dominate for at least a decade ...... pac and big were barley five years in on the mainstream level.... unless they both started doing coke or something highly ignorant in that light ... i dont see the basis to make that statement for these two individuals in particular ....especially considering pacs hollywood appeal

    See this a problem. I like all of them but the fact that u brought up those examples shows how naive you are to the business and how delusional or in denial you are about certain things (no disrespect).

    my point was pretty matter of fact ..... i'd love to hear you elaborate on what you mean
  • Based on opinions.
    Stopped reading after "Drake being the best rapper in 2011."

    Oh yeah that shit was just absolutely outrageous
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